Pakistan PM Imran Khan hits out at poor railways as crash kills 11, injures dozens

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team Islamabad, Islamabad, Pakistan Jul 11, 2019, 03.13 PM (IST)

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan blamed ageing, poorly maintained rail infrastructure after 11 people lost their lives and many suffered injuries when a passenger train coming from the eastern city of Lahore rammed into a goods train that had stopped at a crossing.

The Akbar Express, heading to the western city of Quetta from Lahore, crashed into the freight train in the Sadiqabad area of Punjab province's southern Rahim Yar Khan district, destroying five carriages and trapping passengers, a Reuters report said.

Rescue workers freed the wounded by cutting through the twisted metal of the carriages and dozens were taken to hospital, the report said quoting police officers. 

Prime Minister Imran Khan issued a statement of condolence in which he blamed the infrastructure of Pakistan's colonial-era railway network which has fallen into disrepair due to chronic under-investment and poor maintenance.

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"Have asked Railways Minister to take emergency steps to counter decades of neglect of railway infrastructure and ensure safety standards," Khan tweeted.

Six people died last month when a freight train collided with a passenger train in Hyderabad 165 km (100 miles) from Karachi.

The cause of Thursday's crash is under investigation but Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said human error was believed to be responsible.

"I have ordered an inquiry. Investigation will complete in two-three days," he told Geo Television.

The minister also announced compensation for the dead and injured.

(With inputs from Reuters)

Story highlights

Last month, six people were killed when a freight train collided with a passenger train in Hyderabad 165 km (100 miles) from Karachi.